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Best Places to Visit in Tibet - the must-see attractions for Tibet tours

Tibet is an amazing land with so much to offer its tourists, including breathtaking landscapes, friendly people, incredible traditions and culture as well as incredible mountains.

There are numerous attractive places in Tibet, and we are thrilled to show you all of the amazing sights and attractions to experience and see in Tibet, which will bring this remarkable region even closer. After exploring the following attractions, you may wish to learn more about  this holy land.

Best Places to visit in Lhasa and Surrounding 

Potala Palace - the landmark of Tibet

Potala Palace in Lhasa
Potala Palace - the landmark of Tibet

The Potala Palace on Marpo Ri Mountain north of Lhasa City is an immense and magnificent building complex.

This great palace was originally constructed by King Songtsan Gampo in 637 and served as the royal residence until Lozang Gyatso of Tibet's Great Fifth Dalai Lama renovated it in 1645; since then it has served as his residence and theocratic centre of Tibetan society.

Potala Palace is an incredible collection of artwork and treasures that should not be missed! Designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, Potala Palace cannot be missed while on your tour through Tibet.

Jokhang Temple - Tibetan spiritual center

Jokhang Temple is located in the center of Lhasa, it is considered the most sacred and important temple by Tibetans and the holiest destination for all Tibetan pilgrims. 

It was built by the greatest Tibet King Songtsan Gampo for his two brides: the Tang Princess Wencheng, and the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. Each princess brought a statue of Sakyamuni from their hometown, and the two statues were housed in Jokhang Temple.

As a part of the Potala Palace complex, Jokhang Temple was included on UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

Barkhor Street

Barkhor Street is an ancient street that is surrounded to the Jokhang Temple, located in the Lhasa old town. This is both the spiritual heart of the holy city and the main shopping district for Tibetans. 

Barkhor Street in Lhasa
Barkhor Street in the old town of Lhasa

This street is one of the traditional kora routes for Tibetan people, so you will meet a lot of devoted pilgrims who walk clockwise along the Barkhor Kora.
Barkhor Street is also a bustling bazzar, a great place to buy some handicrafts and souvenirs. 

Sera Monastery

Located at the northern suburb of Lhasa, Sera Monastery is one of the 6 main Gelugpa Monasteries in Tibet. 

The highlight of Sera Monastery is the monks debating that taking place at the courtyard (3:00pm - 5:00pm, Monday - Saturday). The monks debating is a traditional way to learn Buddhism sutras and scriptures. It’s held on the open grounds, monks paired up to debate their different understandings about the Buddhism with the exaggerated body language (such as slap hands, wave arms and some other gestures). 

Tourists are allowed to watch the debates and take photos (with cellphones only), but it's advised to keep quiet. 

Best Places to visit in Central Tibet

Ganden Monastery

Stands atop of the Wangbori Mountain, just 50km northeast of Lhasa, Ganden Monastery is one of the "Great Three" Gelugpa monasteries of Tibet, along with Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery.

Ganden Monastery
Ganden Monastery at Kyichu Valley

This monastery is nestled into the beautiful Kyichu Valley, and it’s also the starting point of the Ganden-Samye trekking. If you are fancy to a short hike, the Ganden Kora is a stunning walk that should not be missed, it offers the superb views over the Kyichu Valley and surrounding mountains, tourists could join the local pilgrims along the path. 

Namtso Lake

Namtso Lake
The Heavenly Lake - Namtso

Namtso means the heavenly lake in Tibetan, it lies in the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain ranges with the altitude of 4,700m, it’s known as the largest lake in Tibet. 

Cuddled by the snow-capped mountains, Namtso Lake is renowned as one of the most beautiful attractions in Tibet. Tourists could stroll along the boundless shore of the lake and enjoy the peaceful sunrise/sunset. 

Namtso Lake is considered as one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, the other two are Lake Manasarovar and Lake Yamdrok. 

Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery was the very first Tibetan Buddhist monastery built in Tibet that has a history of more than 1200 years, it’s located in the Yarlung Valley, situated on the northern bank of Yarlung Tsangpo River and next to Hapori Mountain.
The overall design of Samye Monastery was based on the Mandala, which represents the Buddhist Universe. The central building of Samye comprises a unique synthesis of architectural styles, it has three floors that each built in different style. The ground floor was built in Tibetan style, the 2nd floor was Chinese and the 3rd floor was Indian style. 
If you’re interested in Tibetan history and culture, then Samye Monastery is a must-see site in central Tibet. 

Yumbulagang Palace

Yumbulagang Palace (also known as Yumbu Lakhang) is believed as the first palace in Tibet. It’s situated on a small hill at the eastern bank of Yarlung Tsangpo River. 
This small palace is a great approach of learning Tibetan history, and the highlight of visiting Yumbulagang is probably the short hike along the hill ridge above the building, you can get the fabulous views of Yarlung Valley from there.  

Best Places to visit in Tsang

Yamdrok Lake

As one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, Yamdrok Lake is the closest one to Lhasa with the easiest access. It is a freshwater lake that shaped like a coiling scorpion, with the altitude of 4,400m. 

Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake

Yamrok Lake offers incredible scenery, with the snow-capped mountains surround it, the dazzling lake glows with various colors. Travelers will have the first glimpse of the lake from the Kamba-la pass, on the way from Lhasa to Gyantse. If you get down to the lakeside, you may meet some Tibetan pilgrims doing the lake kora.

Gyantse Kumbum

Gyantse Kumbum is located at Pelkor Chode Monastery, which is an impressive architectural work of art that blends Tibetan, Nepali and Chinese styles together. 

Gyantse Kumbum
Gyantse Kumbum at Pelkor Chode Monastery

The Kumbum Stupa is definitely the highlight of this monastery, it’s a nine-story pagoda decorated with Buddha murals and statues. Gyantse Kumbum is also considered as one of the largest Buddhist stupas in Tibet. 

Tashilhunpo Monastery

Tashilhunpo Monastery was established by the first Dalai Lama in 1447, the monastery is atop a small hill in the center of Shigatse - Tibet's second-largest city.  

Tashilhunpo Monastery stands out as both historically and culturally significant, it is the traditional monastic seat of the Panchen Lama, and it has a very high profile as the largest functioning monastic institution in Tibet.

The main chapel of Tashilhunpo Monastery - Chapel of Jampa houses the worlds’ largest gilded statue, standing 26.2 meters high. It took over 900 artisans and laborers four year to complete. Another chapel in the monastery holds the tomb of the fourth Panchen Lama - who’s believed to be the teacher of the fifth Dalai Lama. This dazzling funeral stupa contains 85KG of gold. 

There's a pilgrimage walking path (Tashilhunpo Kora) around the monastery walls, it takes around 1 hour to complete and offers amazing views of the town. 

Everest Base Camp - the north face of Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest Base Camp (E.B.C.) is one of the top attractions in Tibet, with its stunning views of the north face of the Mt. Everest summit.

There are actually two base camps on Mt. Everest: the South Base Camp in Nepal and the North Base Camp in Tibet.

The most popular way to reach E.B.C. in Tibet is to take an overland tour from Lhasa, this journey includes some important monastic sites and allows you to enjoy the beautiful Tibetan landscape as you make your way to E.B.C.

Rongbuk Monastery at Mt. Everest Base Camp
Rongbuk Monastery at Mt. Everest Base Camp

You would also have the chance to enjoy the marvelous sunrise/sunset views if you spend the night at the local guesthouse in E.B.C., that would be a once-in-a-life-time experience. 

Best Places to visit in Western Tibet

Mount Kailash

Mt. Kailash is probably the most sacred mountain in Tibet, it's been recognized as the center of the world by Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Bön religion. Located at the far west of Tibet, Mt. Kailash is surprisingly accessible by an exciting overland tour from Lhasa or Kathmandu. It is not the highest mountain in that region but the snow cap of Mt. Kailash never melts, and there’s an interesting fact that a human never climbs this holy mountain. 

Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash in Western Tibet

The Mt. Kailash Kora (hike around Mt. Kailash) is something you should not miss if you’re planning to travel in that area. This 3-day trekking allows you to get closer to the sacred mountain while you join the devoted pilgrims.

Lake Manasarovar

With the altitude of 4,560m, Lake Manasarovar is located at the foot of Mt. Kailash, this freshwater lake is one of the most sacred lakes in Tibet that’s fed by the Kailash Glaciers. 

Lake Manasarovar is also called Mapam Yumtso, it means “Victorious Lake” in Tibetan.
The Chiu Monastery on the northwestern shore of the lake is the best spot to overlook Manasarovar and see Mt. Kailash from a distance. 

Guge Kingdom

The ruins of the Guge Kingdom at Tsaparang is one of the most important cultural relic sites in western Tibet, just 18km west of Zanda.

Guge Kingdom Ruins
Guge Kingdom Ruins

This mysterious ancient kingdom was regarded as the highest kingdom in the world, the castle-like palace was built along the mountain and consists 445 rooms, 879 caves and 4 secret tunnels for you to explore.

Best Places to visit in Eastern Tibet (Nyingchi)

Rawok Lake

Rawok Lake (also known as Rawok-tso or Ranwu Lake) with the average altitude of 3,800 meters is the largest lake in eastern Tibet, located in Chamdo prefecture, just by the Sichuan-Tibet highway.

Rawok Lake
Rawok Lake

This lake offers excellent views as it's surrounded by snow-capped mountains and forests. The scenery around the lake are diverse in different seasons, and the best time to visit Ranwok Lake is from late April to mid October. 

Namcha Barwa Mountain

Mount Namcha Barwa is located at southeastern Tibet, near Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, this area is rarely visited by tourists. This 7,782 meters high peak is one of the highest mountains in the world and the third most prominent peak in the Himalayas after Mount Everest and Nanga Parbat.

Namcha Barwa Mountain
Namcha Barwa Mountain

Namcha Barwa has been given the nickname of 'Shy Girl Peak' as the mountain summit is covered by cloud and mist all year round. It's also crowned as the most beautiful snow mountain in China. 

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is a 504.6 km long canyon along the Yarlung Tsangpo River, it's the deepest and one of the largest canyons in the world. As the canyon passes between the peaks of Namcha Barwa and Gyala Peri mountains, it offers various landscapes and stunning views. From the viewing platforms along this canyon, you will see the great bend of Yarlung Tsangpo River and the running water winding through the dramatic cliffs.  

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